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Pocono's historic, long day of racing capped by a Denny Hamlin win

Keith Groller, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) on

Published in Auto Racing

LONG POND, Pa. -- The asphalt at Pocono Raceway saw more race cars this weekend than probably any previous race weekend in the half-century history of the Long Pond track.

And the traffic on the so-called Tricky Triangle also included an army of drying machines and cleanup trucks.

The dryers got a workout Saturday when rain forced a postponement, and another lengthy stint on the Monroe County track Sunday as the final of the five scheduled races and the second NASCAR Cup Series event of the weekend was delayed by a popup storm.

The weather-related delays led to a remarkable 8:43 p.m. finish.

The guy left dancing in the dark was Denny Hamlin, who tied Jeff Gordon for the most wins in Pocono Cup racing history with his sixth victory.

Hamlin, who drives a Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished second behind Kevin Harvick in Saturday's Cup race. On Sunday, they changed places at the top of the leaderboard with Hamlin getting his 41st career win, moving him to 19th all-time.

 

"A sixth win. ... I can't find the words to tell you how much it means to me," Hamlin said. "I knew we had the car. I just tried to work through the traffic and we had the right pit strategy."

Harvick pitted on the 105th lap. Hamlin gained a large position advantage with less traffic and even though he pitted later on the 120th lap, he was able to remain in control.

"I had really a really good car, even better than it was on Saturday," Harvick said. It was just the way things worked out at the end. They did what they had to do and did the opposite of what we did in terms of pitting and it worked out for them. Overall, I can't be dissatisfied with a first and a second."

Harvick said the conditions didn't play a role in the outcome.

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